The New Year holds many surprises for Flubug, but none perhaps as surprising as the proposed makeover for the Illiad Wellness Center, the beleaguered clinic run by Flibert “Doc” Robbie. The clinic, which opened its doors in 1993 with a $2 million state grant, has since fallen on hard times (actually since 1994) and is now struggling to keep its doors open. Deep budget cuts, misallocation of funds, the loss of Bert Sugarman and a general adversion to prescribing narcotics to street junkies, have all taken their toll. Look no further than the crumbling facade to see that something must be done soon.
Fortunately, our elected officials are already on it.
Mayor Ornery and the City Council, all up for re-election in 2016, have hired The Poopatanna Group, an architectural firm in Stateline, to redesign the existing structure and the entire 17-block downtown area as part of Mayor Ornery’s Vision For The Future initiative. The initiative has come under fire as “election year posturing” by anonymous socialists, but the council is agreed that something has to be done and is set to vote on the proposed site as early as Monday. That means rezoning could begin in earnest in mid-to-late January.
Mayor Ornery praised the council for their quick action and cautioned those who would over-emphasize cost. “Personally, I’m proud of this council. And I know it’s a massive undertaking, but so were the pyramids, damn it! And you never heard the Italians whine about taxes.”
But taxes are clearly on everyone’s mind. Down County economists (okay, Know How Lee) say the $2.3 million bond issue would need a 29% interest rate to lure investors and would cost taxpayers a whopping $62.3 million over thirty years. Other economists, mostly those at the OEI (Ornery Economic Institute) who moved into the office next to the mayor’s washroom last week, estimate the interest would cost no more than 2% and result in a “win-win” for the city and taxpayers.
“First of all, the pyramids are in Egypt, not Italy. Secondly, Mayor Ornery’s two nephews at the ‘OEI’ took animal husbandry in high school and barely graduated. I place absolutely no faith in their data and believe it was fabricated to support an election-year stunt that everyone knows will fail and will only serve to deteriorate the last bit of trust between marginalized populations and government.”
The anti-tax collective, Citizens Against Pencil Place, thought to be defunct, were also quick to pile on. “This is a re-run of 2014,” said Vig Talabi, the flamboyant Executive Director who was briefly tortured in 2010 for failure to pay back taxes. “They dangle a sparkling future in front of your eyes then pick your pockets with a bond issue. The only winners are the architects and politicians.”
Sooperporn Poopatanna, chief artchitect at The Poopatanna Group (the same architect who pitched Pencil Place Residential Living & Retail Complex to the City Council two years ago), refused to comment on this story. Pencil Place was proposed to renovate the six-block area between 2nd and 4th which was (and remains) a cesspool of addicts, vagrants and other everyday Flubuggers. The project was scrapped when the $8 million bond issue was defeated. The city is still making payments on invoices incurred for those designs. Know How Lee claims that at current funding, the invoices should be repaid by 2031.